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Magnesium could help save baby boomers from mental decline

Harold Mandel's picture
 Delicious, nutritious spinach

One of the greatest fears associated with aging is cognitive decline. Contrary to popular belief there is often something that can be done to help avoid this from happening. Aside from leading a healthy lifestyle with daily exercise and adequate rest and sleep, good nutrition is vital for brain health as you age. Magnesium has emerged as being particularly important for brain health since it appears to assist in preventing cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's Disease.

Elevation of brain magnesium prevents and reverses cognitive deficits in mice

The Journal of Neuroscience has reported on research showing that elevation of brain magnesium prevents and reverses cognitive deficits and synaptic loss in an Alzheimer's Disease mouse model. This is very significant because extreme synapse loss has been identified as being a major pathological hallmark which is associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and may be associated with memory impairment.

Magnesium is vital for body functions

The National Institutes of Health writes that magnesium is vital for many body functions, including energy production and the synthesis of DNA and RNA. Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems which regulate many different biochemical reactions in the body, which includes:

1: Protein synthesis

2: Muscle and nerve function

3: Blood glucose control

4: Blood pressure regulation

Magnesium is essential for brain health

As reviewed by EmaxHealth reporter Kathleen Blanchard, RN, magnesium may help prevent memory loss and disease. Many foods are a good source of magnesium which can help the brain to work well, as highlighted by EmaxHealth reporter Denise Reynolds RD in her article dealing with the top foods to boost your mood. Flaxseed is noted to be rich in magnesium and B-vitamins, which are nutrients that help us to combat stress.

Many foods are good sources of magnesium

Dr Oz suggests eat at least 5 servings of any of these magnesium-rich foods throughout the day to help maintain good overall well being:

1: ½ cup of boiled spinach

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2: ½ cup of quinoa

3: 1 cup of brown rice

4: 1 cup of kidney beans

5: 1 cup of lentils

6: 1 cup of raisin bran

7: 1 cup of shredded wheat

8: 1 cup of oatmeal

9: 2 slices of whole wheat bread

10: 2 bananas

Poor nutrition and low magnesium levels have been associated with mental Instability and violent behavior, as reported on by Denise Reynolds RD. Research which was lead by Dr. Guosong Liu, who is one of the world's leading cognitive health researchers, has suggested that elevation of brain magnesium via dietary intake of magnesium threonate exerts notable positive effects on brain synapses in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, and actually restores aging brains to their more youthful state of being.

This research is discussed in a news release by AIDP. Cognitive impairment has become almost epidemic in the U.S. as the Baby Boom generation has been aging and living longer. Scientists say one reason for this is that the human brain begins to shrink after age 25. Structural changes which slowly occur along with loss of brain synapses leads to rapid decline in cognitive well being.

On the positive side it has been discovered that the human brain has a greater degree of plasticity than scientists previously understood. Furthermore, it has been determined that magnesium deficiency in adults may play a more significant role in cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's Disease than previously understood.

The study lead by Dr. Guosong Liu, is the first to demonstrate a mechanism for reversing cognitive decline in advanced stage mice with Alzheimer's Disease, while also being the first to show an effective long-term treatment in these mice. The implications of this study for the potential for treating people with Alzheimer's Disease is exciting. Dr. Liu has said, "The body of our peer-reviewed and published work underscores that magnesium threonate can help maintain healthy brain activity. There is no doubt that magnesium threonate has dramatic effects in preventing synapse loss and reversing memory decline in mice with Alzheimer's disease."

Healthy cognitive function begins with a firm nutritional foundation

Dr. Peter Osborne, who is a Board Certified doctor of clinical nutrition, has discussed how healthy cognitive function begins with a firm nutritional foundation. It is now known that magnesium is vital to for healthy brain functions. Shockingly, it is estimated that about 50 million Americans are magnesium deficient because they do not eat enough foods which contain magnesium. It is also known that as we age our bodies naturally lose magnesium. Magnesium loss is also increased by drinking coffee or caffeinated products. It is therefore important to eat well and take magnesium supplements.

I have personally witnessed devastating degrees of cognitive impairment in people due to nutritional deficiencies. These cognitive impairments associated with these nutritional deficiencies are sadly often misdiagnosed by the psychiatrists as being due to serious mental illnesses such schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, which detracts from proper treatment and leads to tragically wasted lives. Increasing knowledge about nutritional factors associated with brain health, including new research which highlights the vital importance of adequate magnesium in the diet to stay mentally alert, should be used to encourage more people to adhere to better nutritional guidelines as they age. And remember magnesium is essential for good brain health since it appears to help prevent cognitive decline which is associated with Alzheimer's Disease.